Silly Saturday – Who Needs Numbers?

Who needs nuWho needs numbers?

Not writers, they use words, except for page numbers…

rWhen I published my first novel seven years ago on Amazon Kindle it was a miracle; I didn’t even possess a Kindle myself and had to ring our friend, who had helped initiate us into the process, to tell him it was live so he could download and see if it had ‘come out’. It was quite difficult explaining to people that my novel did not exist on paper. Of course independent authors were already self publishing real paper books by various means and with varying degrees of success. But I was not going to do anything that involved outlaying money, being conned or ending up with box loads of unwanted books in the garage. A writers’ magazine claimed that soon we would be walking into book stores, plugging in a memory stick with our novel on it and returning to collect a printed book an hour later. This hasn’t happened, but what the Amazon Elves do at their printing press, hidden somewhere in Magic Mountain, is print on demand. You can order one copy or a thousand.

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Two years ago I published my first paperback at Amazon Kindle and was pleased with its appearance, now I could send a real book to my mother in Australia! Since then things have moved on and we can order author copies at cost price. I ordered one copy of ‘At The Seaside…’ it looked good, I posted it off to Australia and ordered more, gave a couple to friends, but it was not until I took a copy round to our writer friends that bad news was revealed… by the time I got home there was a message on my phone  did I know there were no numbers on the pages? Not surprisingly the others in the batch also had no numbers… Did the elves not check before the books left Magic Mountain?

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This poses the question, do we need page numbers?  Cyberspouse helpfully suggested that I just put a bookmark in each copy. Books on Kindle don’t have page numbers, the pages themselves are pretend. If you change the size of the font the page alters. The bottom of the ‘page’ in the novel I’m reading on my Kindle Paperwhite tells me I have read 85% and have 45 minutes reading time left. There is a location number 3629, but I would probably forget what it was if I nudged the screen and lost my place. With real books we can see our progress, but do we notice the page numbers? It is handy if you can recall which page you were on if you lose your bookmark or if you want to look up a particular chapter.

Back at Tidalscribe Publishing House we downloaded the novel again in what we hoped was the right format, the preview showed page numbers, I ordered one copy and waited nervously…

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In the meantime I took the remaining copies to writers’ group and offered them free, with the chance they might become valuable editions if I ever became famous…

…the very rare 2019  numberless edition… what am I bid?

The new version arrived in the post the other day and it did have page numbers.

Could you read a  book without page numbers?

 

Sunday Salon – Astraens and Agents

Two novels, a short story collection and a film to take your mind off the real world.

The book reviews have been posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

A Marriage of Convenience by Stevie Turner

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairy tale for adults.

By Janet Gogerty on 17 October 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This could be described as a fairy tale for our age; a story that crosses from last century into the present. There is a love story, but there is also the bad fairy. Here is a tale of young people making rash decisions and bizarre plans which the reader knows can’t go well, which we hope they won’t go through with… There are dreams that come true and dreams that fade. The final part of the tale keeps us in suspense; can the dark spell be lifted from our heroine, can she ever forgive?

Coffee BreakEscapes: Twenty Short Stories To Set You Free  by Phillip Howlett

5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty tales lyrical or snappy, often taking you where you did not expect to go.

15 November 2018  Verified Purchase

A blackbird singing in the garden, a sure bet at the racecourse, poignant memories and a young lad’s sixpence. All life is here, though not always confined to the living. Secret meetings, terrible mistakes and deaths that shouldn’t have happened. Spare time for the last two longer stories ‘Radio Man’ and ‘Your Turn Will Come’, two very different tales exploring beyond our earthly limits.

Harmony ( Sanctuary Part Two ) by Maureen Turner

5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction for all…

18 November 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I bought Harmony as soon as it came out as I had been waiting in suspense since reading Sanctuary. It was good to be back amongst the two communities, humans and Astraens. They are not so different from each other, which makes this such agood story. Can harmony be achieved when both sides have various agendas andthe Astraens are not as angelic as their appearance suggests? The tentative peace between the two races is constantly at risk because of the action of some individuals. But this is also a story of good characters trying to do their best and a tale of love blossoming.
Cosy science fiction perhaps? We don’t need to know how the motherships work, though we learn more about their travels since having to leave their own planet, nor why the aliens are conveniently sexually combatible with humans… lucky the woman who has a chap with wings to shelter her on a chilly night. But don’t get too cosy, the pace of the story escalates to a stunning ending.

Johnny English Strikes Again

‘Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in “Johnny English Strikes Again”. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology-or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.’

 Would you go to the cinema at 11am? One of my favourite places in Christchurch is the Regent Centre, a rescued and restored Art Deco cinema. On a damp grey winter day why not go and watch a film guaranteed to take your mind off the real problems of the world… and Johnny English has to save the world from a very big disaster. The film was silly but very funny. Just under an hour and a half, a sensible length for any film and certainly for this sort of film which is non stop slapstick send up with lashings of wit. Our hero creates nearly as much collateral damage as James Bond and doesn’t get the girl. A clever plot line somehow turns every disaster to advantage and Johnny saves the day.

Silly Saturday – Digital Dithers

 

Typing at school is not for me,

A secretary I’ll never be.

adult blur business indoors

A home computer, whatever for?

A Commodore 64?

For that we are too poor.

photo of green data matrix

Who has the patience to dial,

Peering at screens is such a trial.

Internet we do not need,

Goodness knows where that would lead.

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You don’t have e-mail..

How will we keep in touch?

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Amazon, that is a river,

Blue hieroglyphics in your e-mail,

Links are what you get in chains.

I only wanted to know

What you’d like for Christmas.

 

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Join Facebook? No thanks,

What, you’ve put me on already

And my date of birth…

Hey come and look at this picture,

You’re not on Facebook, how come?

How do you keep in touch?

 

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Kindle, what’s that?

Self publish, what a dream,

But I don’t DO technology.

You’ve got your book on Kindle,

Tell us how…

Yes, it’s live now.

Artists and Writers’ Year book thrown out,

I’m an Indie Author now.

How many novels have I sold?

Two or is it three,

One for my sister and one for me…

 

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Websites, domains, Goodreads, Twitter,

Google, Pinterest, Linked In, Tumbler

Too much trouble

Just a muddle,

Two domains by error.

My picture’s gone sideways on Goodreads,

I’m only Linked In to three people,

I’ve lost my Twitter account.

Only four friends have Liked

My Facebook Author  Page.

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Blogs, no time to read or write,

My novel I must complete.

 

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On WordPress there’s a pattern,

Where my photograph should be,

I don’t know how to schedule

Or understand the Stats.

 

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My website is sunshine yellow,

My blog is sea green,

But neither flash or move

And I wish I could be seen

As a jolly cartoon

For my Author Persona.

I have an identity crisis

How do I become an Avatar?

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To Free or not to Be

We all read books for free; library books, all those paperbacks people have passed on to you and if you have forked out fifty pence in the charity shop for your favourite author – your favourite author won’t be seeing a penny. I once went to a chat at the library by a noted local author; a strange coincidence occured a few days later and a hundred miles away when we were visiting a National Trust property. There was the usual  second hand bookshop in an interesting outbuilding. As I browsed, there on top of a pile of books on the makeshift counter was the very book the  noted author had been talking about. It cost me fifty pence…

Indie Authors wring their hands and discuss whether they should, or if it will be worth it to offer their book for free. The hope being that readers will be so enamoured they will buy other books by the writer, or more importantly, the reader will be so grateful they will write a glowing review. A week later some authors will be posting in chat forums or writing in their blogs in great distress because no one has written a review yet.

I am happy to accept a free offer, or a ’99 pence today only’ bargain if the book appeals to me and I will review it, because I try and review all the books I read. But by the time I pick a book out of my TBR collection on my Kindle I will have forgotten if it was free or what I paid for it. I just want to enjoy reading.

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A while back I came up with an idea brilliant in its simplicity, based on the premise that Indie Authors can do what they like, even if they have sold their soul to Amazon. To avoid technical stress I would not bother with free offers or prices going up and down. Come to my bookshop and I guarantee there will always be books you can buy for ninety nine pence. If you want to buy a paperback for your aunty who doesn’t have a Kindle they start at £5.99.

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If you want a novel try Quarter Acre Block. It is my best selling book, probably becaue it has always been 99p and readers know what to expect…

‘In the nineteen sixties many ‘ten pound pommies’ had never left England before and most expected never to return or see loved ones again. George Palmer saw Australia as a land of opportunities for his four children, his wife longed for warmth and space and their daughter’s ambition was to swim in the sea and own a dog. For migrant children it was a big adventure, for fathers the daunting challenge of finding work and providing for their family, but for the wives the loneliness of settling in a strange place.’

You can read the background to the story on my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-six-fiction-focus/

If you are brave enough to tackle my trilogy you can buy the first novel for 99p.

Leaflet 2015 back

If you enjoy short stories I have four collections.

Try Dark and Milk for 99p.

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If you would like free fiction there are always stories to be read on my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/

And look out for Friday Flash Fiction here at Tidalscribe.

Visit my Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

How do you choose which books to buy? How long is your TBR pile?

 

 

 

Multi Media Muddles and Miracles

When I was four years old my parents got their first television; I thought the people on the screen lived in the cabinet underneath and I was too scared to open the doors. For all I know about computers, it could still be the case that the people who spring to life on Facebook or utube live under my desk, in the black magic box that is called a desk top computer, though it is sitting on the floor.

Even those exalted friends and colleagues who are in computers, do programming or the person who turns up in your office when you call ‘IT’ probably don’t know how the magic really works.

Until it stops working, writers don’t need to know how their computer works; they only need to know how to type and how to use the internet. Indie Authors come via many routes to arrive in the same virtual meeting room, but we have all been told along our journey that we need a media platform.

Ideally this is supposed to be in place before you start your novel, let alone finish it, but many of us would never have got our books written if we had jumped in at the deep end. Instead we learn by osmosis and help from fellow writers; probably once a month discovering some technical short cut that is second nature to everybody else.

My guide to computer technology should not be followed… Never click on any strange symbol in case you wipe out everything you are doing. If something goes wrong, switch off every piece of equipment and announce loudly that you are going downstairs to cook dinner. Then sneak back in when the computer least expects it, turn on and hope for the best.

Anything I have created that appears on line is more by luck than judgment, perhaps even a miracle. When I joined Goodreads my picture insisted on being sideways, it was a long time before I figured out how people put pictures on Facebook and it was only a few weeks ago that I managed to change from a snowflake to a human representation in those little boxes next to LIKE at the foot of Worpress blogs…

But as fast as we establish one base it changes, or our superiors tell us nobody is using that anymore. Hopefully WordPress will be around for a while. I was a latecomer, realising nearly everyone except me was on it. Domains, websites, Amazon Author pages, Facebook pages; whatever you use needs to be fed, nurtured and updated. Nothing looks worse than a website that even the owner has not visited since October 2016. Of course there is no guarantee that anyone will visit your website or blog among the millions out there in the ether. Every day, in cathedrals all round the country, choirs will be singing evensong; even if not a single member of the public turns up the service will go ahead. That is the cathedral’s main purpose. And if a single soul does turn up seeking God, they will be ready for him.

Our websites are unlikely to have such a high calling, but just in case someone finds themselves in our own special domain we want it to look good and grab their interest. My website does not have moving pictures, falling snowflakes or firework displays, but there are topical pictures and enough to read for your coffee break.

Not only is it a miracle that I am on the internet, the internet is a miracle.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/

How Big is a Book?

When I finished the first draft of my first novel ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ it was 325,000 words long; considering it had started off as a short story you may wonder how that came about. Much editing and removal of sub plots later and it was reduced to the final 225,000 words. As it also adhered to no known genre, the chances of finding an agent were even less than they are for most new and unknown writers. As I sent off chapters, letters and synopses to agents, I started writing ‘Quarter Acre Block’ in which nothing strange happens. This time I planned to stay under 100,000 words and aim for the family drama market. But even as I wrote about 1960s England and Australia, a character who had walked uninvited into Brief Encounters was nagging to have his story told.

Even as ‘Three Ages of Man’ was being born I had decided to try the self publishing route; on Amazon Kindle there is no limit to how many words you can publish, after all a Kindle device can hold thousands of books and trillions of words.

This year, as I have written in previous blogs

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/reinventing-the-printing-press/   

we started turning all my books into paperbacks. With four collections and Quarter Acre Block published and copies handed out as gifts to various friends and relatives, whether they wanted them or not, it was time to start on the Brief Encounters Trilogy.

But would the magic printing press cope? ‘Three Ages of Man’ is 195,000 words long, and the preparallelequel to  Brief Encounters. Don’t look the word up, I made it up and have trouble spelling it myself; Three Ages is second of the trilogy, but is also a stand alone novel. Not a lot shorter than the first novel, but it seemed logical to experiment with it first.

How long is a novel, how big is a book? First time writers are often quoted 80,000 words, certainly not over a hundred or under fifty. But the truth is, a story is as long as it takes to tell; some readers like a quick read while others enjoy something they can get their teeth into.

When Cyberspouse ‘accidentally’ joined Amazon Prime, perhaps a ploy to get the Amazon Firestick, we were happy to enjoy the benefits of free delivery. ‘Three Ages of Man’ arrived and I put it on the kitchen scales, just under three pounds Imperial. It is nine inches by six inches, no thicker than other paperbacks we have in the house, with larger print and a generous margin on the inside edge of the pages so the reader won’t need to prize it open to read. I was happy.

Now to turn our attention back to ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind.’

 

 

Goerge Had Six Moths To Feed.

After nearly five years floating in the ether, the first novel I published on Amazon Kindle is now available as a paperback. Quarter Acre Block was inspired by my family’s experiences emigrating to Australia as Ten Pound Pommies; ironically the paperback costs £10.00  (£9.99 ).  I have not yet written a novel inspired by my return to the United Kingdom, as a twenty year old on a six month working holiday which has stretched till now; suffice to say I have family on both sides of the world and there have been many journeys back and forth over the years, few of them mine.

Project Paperback QAB took on some urgency as Australian visitors were coming to stay; Kindle Direct Publishing paperbacks are not yet available in Canada or Australia.

Technology at our In House Publishers is rarely new; second hand computers, smart phones and other devices pass through the house, passed down from family who are upgrading or bought from ‘Pete at work’. Quarter Acre Block documents were in my new computer, in the external hard drive and on various memory sticks, but we couldn’t find the HTML document that had formed the original Kindle book. I wanted to add pages at the beginning and end that could not have existed in the first version, ‘By the same author’  ‘About The Author’, so with my Kindle at my side as reference I treated the Microsoft word document as a final edit. It was good to read the novel again and the Palmer family were pleased I had not forgotten them, but I was mortified to find more than one mistake in spelling and grammar. Had gremlins crept in? There was no escaping the fact that the same errors occurred in the Kindle version.  I am not alone in this, I have enjoyed plenty of e-books where letters have swapped places and full stops have fallen off; perfection is hard to achieve, but it was galling to read that George had six ‘moths’ to feed.

At last the book was ready to download, with a new cover and perfect pages. Before you press Publish, Amazon comes up with a helpful spell check, a feature not available when we first published. Six errors… four were colloquial, wheatbelt should have been The Wheatbelt, but the glaring mistake was Goerge. One of my main characters, George, had endured the indignity of having his name spelt incorrectly in the first chapter; I can only hope that like the jumbled letter quizzes on Facebook – only people who are highly intelligent can read this – readers did not notice.

We ordered one copy to check it was fine. The visitors arrived on Thursday, the book on Friday. I ordered ten more; they were due on Sunday, an e-mail from Amazon on Sunday afternoon stated they had been delivered and left in the porch. The porch was empty, the visitors were going on Tuesday morning. On Sunday evening the neighbours came round with a parcel that had been left in their porch. On Monday evening we gave our visitors their gift and luckily they had enough room in their suitcases to take copies for my mother and niece; at 95,000 words the book is quite heavy, I had saved a lot on postage and packing.

In all the excitement we had not noticed one glaring omission. There was no title on the spine… on Amazon Kindle nothing is set in stone, you can go back in at any time and change the book, future copies will not be spineless. Perhaps those first eleven copies will be famous rarities in a hundred years time…

Read my previous blog on how KDP print on demand first came into my life.     https://wordpress.com/post/tidalscribe.wordpress.com/383